Jules Cournane has lost her former advanced eventer Sintra BK, who was expecting her first foal.

The 11-year-old mare was put down at Liphook Equine Hospital following complications from colic surgery.

“They did a caesarean section and tried very hard to save her colt, but he was too premature and didn’t make it,” said Jules.

“I really have to thank everyone at Liphook Equine Hospital for the incredible care she received in the last week of her life. When she was lying down they would even bring her a duvet for a pillow.

“If she had to go how she did, it was really great that she could be in such a caring and calm environment. Despite everything, she was very peaceful in the end and that was really down to the care she received at Liphook.”

Sintra was bred by Ana Beca in Spain, by Lacros, whose progeny include the Kentucky winner Quimbo. Her dam Kurda 66 also produced Teseo, a current advanced ride of Andrew Nicholson’s, and Andrew’s four-star ride Qwanza, a full-sister to Sintra.

Sintra was the second highest-graded mare with Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain last year, receiving a mark of 9.4. She was in-foal to Diarado, by Diamant De Semilly.

Andrew Nicholson produced Sintra to three-star level and Jules took over in 2013, completing Blenheim CCI3* that year with her.

I had the most amazing ride on her around Blenheim after only having her a couple months,” said Jules. “She was always just amazing to ride and have around — she was always on your side fighting for you and always looking to do her job as well as she could.

“She taught me more about riding cross-country than I could have learned in my entire life without her.

“She was so sweet — in her whole life I don’t think she ever put her ears back once. She was always happy.”

US rider Jules is based at Headley Stud, in Newbury, and married to Irish showjumper Capt Brian Cournane. She formerly evented at three-star level, but has now given up eventing and plans to showjump, although that plan is currently on hold as she is pregnant with her first child, a son, due in June.

“Sintra and I were going to have our first babies together, just a few weeks apart,” she said.